Scene Three - Emerging Patterns
Burutu, Ekpan River Delta.
Ade - cyborg patternist from the Crowned Cranes section of the global Bird tribe
Special Skill: Algorithmic pattern recognition in ecological data
Last Post on GaiaPrima:
My students found an oil spill pattern in the middle of a protected area. The evidence went viral and any moment now baseline hunters from all over the Delta are expected to show up… We are taking the ferry tonight with a team to check it out early tomorrow.
Out-Of-Office: I don’t have an open public line at the moment. My office hours are 9-12 every monday and thursday in room H34 in the main Ornitorium. You can find me in the Fediverse, search for me by my Key. ClickMe.sh
Last Private Note:
I’m too old for this kind of shit.
Samantha - freshly initiated birdfluencer on GaiaPrima
Special Skill: Famous among her 10’000s of followers for her melancholic songs. She is privileged by being part of the Orjia family - and made use of that privilege by stealing some of the family’s ancient oil wealth from her dad through a legal trick.
Last Post on GaiaPrima:
I’ve been in this jungle for three days now and it creeps me out. The lack of fish does something weird to my head, almost as if… There is something wrong with me, psychologically. I think I should leave this place. #NomadicByNature
(Please prompt your favorite text2musicvideo media pattern generator with this prompt: Write a song in a mixed Gonzo art style. Combine elements of Björk and the Spice Girls and follows the rhythm of “Both Sides” by Joni Mitchell. The song is titled “Where have all the fish gone” and is produced acoustic on guitar with bird songs in the background. The video shows a fancy dressed nollywood youth star with a guitar sitting on the riverfront in delta state looking melancholically into the sunset.)
Last Private Note:
I can’t take this anymore. My family did all of this. Not a single fish anywhere. And what for? Nothing of this is for me. That was always a lie. It was always and only for him, him and him.
Bajo - Senior Future Engineer who made a small fortune with a clever combination of business and research over his career.
Special Skill: Obsessive single minded focus, currently on Gold.
Last Public Post on Gaia Prima:
Heading off on a plausibly deniable journey into the jungle. This client is paranoid, but he brings juicy deals. Will be without my devices for the next few days.
Last Private Note:
Client is still not showing up. I hope nothing bad happened to him.
Stage: The Camera follows Ade getting up in the jungle hut, taking breakfast from the buffet and going up the spiral stairs of the main watchtower. Samantha and Bajo are sitting by the coffee table with the view, Samantha currently leaning back with her eyes closed, apparently talking to her followers. Bajo is watching the stairs and nods at Ade as she shows up.
Ade takes a chair and says: “Morning, may I?”
“What leads you up here?” Bajo saw all the students arrive last night - he didn’t expect that many people out here at this time of the year. This is a bit sus.
“Seems like we got ourselves a methane leak somewhere in this hellhole. Going to scan the area for the exact location and record a first baseline later today…”
Samantha was just nipping the first drops of her wake-up drink, eyes closed. whispering her most private diary entries. She’d been trying to wean the habit, but to no avail - She is still in the “don’t talk to me in the morning before I intoxicated my brain with this drug or I might kill you” phase of attempted caffeine withdrawal. So she takes a deep gulp and opens with: “So you are the teacher, are you? What is happening?” She flaps open her shutter and starts recording “May I go public with this?”.
“Sure.” Ade sighs. She always hated the excessive transparency requirements, but this leak is news and information needs to get out quickly. So she flaps open her own lens. Noticing with a smirk that that influencer kid had customized the visual indicator of publicity, so instead of right next to her lens on her shoulder as by default, the green light turns on the little amulet sitting right on her forehead. She hadn’t noticed the jewelry before, but that girl is not ashamed to flaunt her wealth. So she opens her own lens, goes public herself through the university library stream and does her best public relations speak:
“Let me try to get this all straight for the record: I teach algorithmic pattern recognition. My students found a pattern on during local case study work - this island in the Ekpan just north from the main Ornithorium. The area is currently undergoing a series of ecological restoration interventions that was designed for dumpsites, and that apparently doesn’t work so we started looking more closely at toxin concentrations in the river water. Ethylene, Octane, Benzol and a bunch of other concentrations were far too high for a dumpsite, so we concluded that there probably is a leak from an underground fossil reserve somewhere here. The methane seems to diffuse into the river mostly, so there you don’t see any local spikes from the satellites and the thing went undetected during the space guided 2040ies cleanup swipes. In other words: It looks like Orjia Incorporated didn’t just dump their toxic waste in their own backyard, but even drilled for dark oil here - sold secretly outside the UNFCCC tracking systems. We first noticed the pattern in comparative ecosystem recovery studies comparing the biodiversity here to similar dumpsites. Ten years after the closure of the last producer of industrial waste, there are still no amphibes at all, practically no fish, and barely any birds. Only bloody Mosquitos. We will try to find the leak and record the baseline, starting the expedition at 11:00 AM today” She flaps her shutter closed again and gives the girl a stare, hoping to indicate clearly that she should filming now, please.
Samantha turns her light orange before turning it off and asks “Maybe some private details for my inner circle of followers only, please?”
Ade thinks about it. “OK, so explicitly off the record - This place is dangerous even for trained professionals. Do not even think of going out there on your own. The pattern is already registered, so no matter who exactly finds it, most of the ITMOs belong to the national science foundation as of today. So if you show up in half an hour for the safety training and promise me to keep yourself and everyone else safe out here. You can make a few ITMOs and get to distribute the shares of proceeds - but this is no walk in the park and we expect to find high concentrations of cancerogenous shit.” That seems to satisfy the nosy girl, who gestures gratefulness and draws back into her feed. Ade lets her gaze wander over over the landscape as first light dawns. From above it looks almost like regular mangroves. But even up here, something is off with the smell. She had adjusted her sensorium to be hypersensitive to the most valuable fractions of raw oil - the traces of volatile substances in the air should lead them to the site of the leak.
Samantha closes her lens. "Thank you. Let me think about it. She leans back and into her followers’ aggregated emotions on the choice. It’s clear as day - she has to go.
“So, this is what you are? ITMO hunters?” Bajo knows that type. You can literally buy anything for ITMOs these days so the worst kind of people are really into it - all those environmentalists and hippies. “Have you considered investing your ITMOs in Gold instead?”
Ade just ignores the guy and checks her network vibes. Her cousin Prakriti seems to be in a lot of pain. Reading through her feed, she understands the severity of the situation in Barcelona - and how difficult it must be for Prakriti to do the obviously right thing here. Traumatized by the brutalist approach the public sector took towards her as a child, Prakriti would never call an official helpline, ever. Settlers call the official helpline to get people like her killed. However, this is already ranked an official deadly Wetbulb event by the IPCC - not an issue you can get answered on the Birdtribe underground fora. Ade checks the official page, and yes, there is post on the UNFCCC Loss and Damage Forum already up and the professionals are taking care. Somebody has identified a whole container full of mobile solar heat pumps in the latest thread on the Forum. So she sends Prakriti a screenshot - and chirps “help is coming my love” in bird speak to her.
Ade carefully finishes her food, diverts her attention from the permanent disaster on the networks and announces to the table: “So, Security Training starts in 30 minutes. See you there?”
Samantha had turned inward, communicating with her bot aggregating the voices of her followers on Gaia Prima.Everyone seems to agree: She should do the safety training and go. The first rule of #NomadicByNature is that we shall not choose doing nothing over an opportunity for adventure. “See you there.”
Bajo is a bit taken aback by who those two women just blatantly ignore him, but considers his chances. After all, you can indeed buy gold with ITMOs. So if this pattern reader is any good, at least he can bring back something valuable from this stupid trip. Why not, after all - the ecological codex mandates safety trainings to be held free and accessible for anyone present at the place, so he can just show up and tag along with them.
Act Two - New Business Models
Scene One - The Cost of Living
With all said and done between the CTCN and the Loss and Damage Fund, the container in Tunis will go to the highest bidder and ship out in exactly 24 hours. Currently, the highest bidder is the Caribbean rapid response force, bidding half a million ITMOs from their account in the Cayman Islands national registry. All of it accumulated from a transaction tax off the pan-caribbean renewable ammonia bunker fuel ITMO program. Now that is something Prakritis dance can certainly help with: Her cousin Ve works for them! Half an hour later, Ve convinces the board to retain the final destination, but offer a one week detour via Barcelona for a small fee of 50’000 ITMOs. Ve can’t get the board to agree to anything lower than that - and even 50k for a week is only viable as there has been a bit of a lull between the storms right now.
50k ITMOs does not sound too bad - but that still is a lot of money. Making things worse, ITMOs are the hardest international currency out there. Being opt-outs from the traditional money systems unfortunately implies that their tribe never ties their wealth to their UNidentity - so none of them even has an account in any of the ITMO registries - a fact making the ITMO crowdfunder slightly more complicated.
Meanwhile Mireia secured a truck and got the mechanic to jank it up to triple battery power - that should be enough to drive north with full A/C, fill it with unconscious people from the valley and get back to safety before running dry. Just in case the container never arrives. It will take them about an hour to go up to Phils place - she keeps watching the life map of the Wetblub provided by the meteoservice, slowly creeping up the valles towards the refuge. They got to leave no later than 36 hours.
Scene 2- Death Markets
Kitten is still playing the markets, look for answers to Jeebyam’s impending loss. The leverage potential is coming down, as a new attractor seems to form around 800 Deaths. But power grids are vulnerable and have been targeted by results-based terrorism for decades. So the distribution of death bets forms a bimodal distribution with a first peak at 2’000 and a second peak well over 100’000, with very few bets falling far from those two regions, plus a few very large bets all the way up in the millions. There is only one way to profit of this situation: Bet low as fuck and make it the biggest bet on the market. So Kitten trades out huge chunks of Jeebyams action potential for the latest zero knowledge cash and places all of it on a <100 death betting contract. With some small manipulations, those bets could go up in value 10x easy. There should be someone in the marketplace ready to take the leverage and lent them those life saving ITMOs…
Prakriti is still out in the streets of the night market, swiping away the dirt left by a night of panic. Up on the screen over the stage, the public counter of the ITMO crowdfunder is slowly ticking up. 6’784 out of 50’000 now. Some of Prakriti’s childhood friends even traded their heirloom ITMOs from their homes on small island states for cheap commodity units from oil and gas projects at rates as low as one to ten on the antique markets. The Loss and Damage can’t directly evaluate ITMOs differently by origin story - when it comes to survival goods and emergency aid, a ton is still a ton, no matter the story behind it. With all that effort and sacrifice, they are still not even at 20% of what they need to find before tomorrow morning. She checks her network for responses again - the only notification is from that guy who pinged her on her anonymous erotic side channel earlier tonight… She decides to open the message - and stares at the offer for her while, not comprehending how any of this is supposed to work. Leverage the spread on collective death betting markets to loan ITMOs from an on-Chain solution via a smart withdrawal VAT carousell? She gives up on even trying to decipher what is supposed to mean as her first search hit on the account identifies it as robotic account spamming crypto mumbo jumbo all over the place.
Scene 3 - Baseline Hunting
This scene is a rough outline of a scenario that can be played out in an Interactive Adventure Form. A round of the game takes 60 minutes and will unlock the Silver League achievement badge for playful methods titled “Basic How To Play Tutorial - Roleplaying for Narrative Scenario Building 101”.
Ade leads a group with Samanta and Bajo and her students, riding their naval vessel through the toxic waters of a mosquito infested swamp. Ades nasal sensors guide them towards the drilling side - hidden in a natural cavern, the first bore hole they find is half covered in water - The students take probes and test the water. Running the numbers, this can’t be the only hole though. As they move deeper into the cavern, they discover an abandoned experimental drilling site.
Navigating through the site, they discover hole after hole, experimental drilling equipment and even some old barrels that look like fracking fluid. This will take months to deconstruct, even for the best teams in the world.
As soon as they are back to the camp, they run a rough first modeling tool over their recording. A full clean up of the site should reduce at about one million tons of methane per year - and thus generate twenty five million commodity grade ITMOs at the current going rate. So they submit their recordings to UNFCCC and go to bed, exhausted from the long day. Next morning, the reward for baseline discovery bonus is already in the Universities’ ITMO accounts. As per tradition, the baseline recording team now gets to allocate 10% of the proceeds from that transaction to any UNFCCC registered project of their choice.
Bajo choses to invest into an ITMO generating clean gold production. This is fine - even though his client never showed up, the trip was well worth it. The mine will pay back more than he took to the public coffers and his own stock will gain a juicy margin in the process.
Ade tops up the Barcelona fundraiser all the way to 50k and sends a winged kiss emoji to her bird sister Prakriti. May the migration continue. The container will be released and sent towards Barcelona in t-12 hours. She then places the rest of her reward into various bird reservations and safe spots along the main migratory routes.
Samantha learns of the Barcelona situation from Ade. She puts all her reward into her home region and does that thing that influencer kids from oil rich families sometimes do - she takes a flight just for the adventure to continue. To Tunis. And goes on board the container ship just minutes before it leaves the harbor for Barcelona.
Act 3 - Settling the Scores
Spanish Jackie - Queen of the Pirate nest in Torre de Addaia, Menorca. Carries the highest respect among the seafaring folks.
Special Ability: Queen in Sight - she is a play queen. So whoever is in the same room grants her authority over their decisions, including the right to call for a killing. - But her authority only lasts as long as she is in the room. Her orders are forgotten and ignored quickly as soon as she leaves.
Last Post on Gaia Prima:
“This island fucking sucks. What are we doing here, listening to Neuro Flash Trance all night like it’s 2045! Is there no new music anymore?”
Last Private Post
The navigators have been nervous lately. Watch out for emergency re-routing.
Scene 1: Transit Taxes
Samantha is the only passenger, the single container carrier is crewed by a crew of three sailors, who largely ignore her presence and spend their time playing Cuajo. They don’t even bash an eye as the pirates enter their ship and make their demands but simply nod and hand over the container. Small Island Solidarity goes a long way in a situation like this. Samantha can’t believe what she is seeing. The pirates offer her to come along jokingly, which she quickly consults her followers and tugs along, grasping the handle on the side of the container in the last moment before the crew dispatches back to the mainland with the empty vessel while the pirates head for the hidden coven on northern Menorca.
The pirates navigate the container into a cove in the estuary behind Torre de Addaia. Samantha can only watch it happen, too scared to intervene, and instead posts another music video on Gaia Prima:
"Prompt your favorite text2musicvideo media pattern generator with something like this: Write a song in a mixed Gonzo art style. Combine elements of Björk and the Spice Girls and follows the rhythm of “This side of the Law” by Johnny Cash. The song is titled “No justice, No peace” and is produced acoustic on guitar with bird songs in the background. The video shows a fancy dressed nollywood youth star with a guitar in a harbor where pirates unload a container full of boxes tagged with the logo of the Loss and Damage fund in the style of UNHCR.
People start to unload the mobile solar heat pumps and distribute them onto smaller boats - once an essential commodity like those disappears into the network of mediterranean seasteading float traders, it is gone forever - and yet miraculously ends up exactly where it is most needed. Still, Samantha is invested in the Catalunyan situation beyond her expectations now - and pleads with them on behalf of the Catalunyans to release the container for Barcelona .
The crowd of islanders disrespects her at the max :“Where were the Catalunyans during the 2027 Cyclone that destroyed my homelands?” - “and where were they when the 2046 wet bulb event killed my entire family in Sudan, where were you?” - “We owe you nothing.” - “These belong to the united federation of small islands. Leave them to us.” where among the nicer comments.
Samantha calls Ada, she connects to Prakriti - who then asks her friend in Caymans what to do. The instructions are simple: “Find Jacky, ask her”. Samantha heads into the bar and finds her sitting by herself in a corner, drinking. Her royal order is simple enough: “This party sucks. Make it sparkle for me and I shall hear your grievances!”
Scene 2: Emotional Support Kitten
Samantha checks out the local trade fora and requests, forwards to Prakriti, her public stream observed by Kitten. Kitten checks with Jeebyam, but there are no Gaia Prima players available anywhere on Menorca right now. Their Action Potential is not buying them anything on that island. Jeebyam is losing the plot.
Kitten digs through all fora on the island and finally finds a big one: The Mahon Pharmaceutical lab had been trying to make glow-in-the-dark eye drops for ages. Comparing their lab logs with the literature, Kitten notices that they’ve been using the wrong class of initializer for the mRNA sequence, so the luciferase production doesn’t kick off. Kitten offers them to solve the problem in exchange for a bottle of drops. They print the new sequence suggested by Kitten in the pharmacy. Samantha picks up the drops and personally hands them over to Jacky.
Jacky checks the label and puts them into one of her husband’s left eye. A minute later, the entire eyeball starts glowing in bright, ghoulish green. The drops make the round in the bar, as the sound picks up.
Jacky grabs the mike and orders her people to let Samantha take what is left in the container and bring it all the way to Barcelona on her personal cargo vessel.
Scene 3: Protecting the Roots
Mireia, Samantha and Prakriti race through the wet bulb zone in the air conditioned semi truckload full of cooling stuff.
Phil is standing waiting by the viewpoint. The last family passed through here two hours ago. Those who have not made the last stretch from Bagà to the refuge yet won’t make it at all - the Wetbulb has engulfed the village and is creeping up the roads slowly. Time for him to retreat to the higher elevations and cooling caves.
He decides to place one last call to his loved ones from the phone booth before the hike. His head feels light and clear from the heat and deadly seriousness of his encounters with the refugees from Bargà. These are his people, too. He will protect them at all cost, every last one of them. He decides to just place a voice message to his inner circle, saying goodbye to those he may never see again.
Mireia plays the voice message as they pass through Terradellas. Prakriti is driving the semi truck like a torched pig. They are speeding up the C-16, with enough cooling system to keep the storage at safe temperatures basically forever. They just laugh - Always this guy is always producing so much melodrama.
Minutes later, the three of them are passing out portable solar heat pumps from the back of the truck. Cooling water, cooling air, bringing back weakened bodies from hyperthermia and weakened minds from delirium. Mireia helps a child with a cold air blower - which the child then takes and uses to blow cold air on a passed out stork lying in the sun next to the pond. Upon waking up, it rubs its head against the child’s hand and then moves into the shade. Prakriti catches the scene on her camera and shares it with Ade under a winged heart Banner - her video soon turns into a popular meme template and starts spreading virally through the bird tribe networks.
Jeebyam is crying as he sees the scene on her profile. This is it. The closure is inevitable now. Phil is alive and they will all be family before winter.
A week later, Kitten harvests her payoff from the Death Markets and as the rain sets in and cools the region, the portable solar heat pumps are packed up and find their way back to the next place where they are needed most on a fleet of tiny sailboats picking them up in Barcelona for their journey westwards…
Samantha gets ready to record another music clip - "Fans, family and other creatures of the world - Today I’m performing something special to you. This song is dedicated to my dad. It’s called "A Tree”.
"Prompt your favorite text2musicvideo media pattern generator with something like this: Write a song in a mixed Gonzo art style. Combine elements of Björk and Nirvana and follows the rhythm of “Looking for Freedom” by David HAsselhoff… The song is titled “A Tree” and the refrain goes “A tree cannot grow In its parentsʼ shadows.” and is produced acoustic on guitar with bird songs in the background. The video shows a fancy dressed nollywood youth star with a guitar alone, sitting on the dock by the bay.
During the last music video, the title credits scroll over the screen, naming all the co-authors of this story.
End with a link to blog post by Phil on the “Truth Seekers Network” titled "Facing Death”.